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Billy Gillispie’s ready for his shot at a happier ending


Mike Miller

Billy Gillispie’s college hoops rise could’ve been a Hollywood movie, but not one with a Disney ending. Maybe one by David Fincher.

After rebuilding UTEP and turning Texas A&M into a Top 25 program, Gillispie got to the mountaintop at Kentucky, only to fail miserably after two seasons and bottom out with a drunken driving charge just months afterward. Tough ending.

Perhaps the sequel will be more uplifting.

Texas Tech hired Gillispie in March to replace Pat Knight, who never cut it after replacing his famous dad. That leaves Billy Clyde to work his magic once more, in a state where he’s done just that twice before. Don’t count him out. He sounds motivated to do it.

In an excellent feature by USA Today, Gillispie spoke about how his fall impacted his career, his outlook and how he plans to turn the Red Raiders into a contender. Though mostly, he sounds grateful for another chance to coach D-I hoops in a BCS conference.

“You honor effort, and I really do appreciate the effort that was made to bring me here,” he says. “I’ve done that other deal where you build something up and you have great success and you’re looking for greener pastures.

“I don’t think there are greener pastures than this place, especially for me.”

After four mediocre seasons, Gillispie’s starting from scratchy with Texas Tech. Nine new players are on the roster, many of whom are junior college transfers. It won’t be long before the roster’s more talented -- he could always recruit, especially in Texas -- and the defense will certainly be formidable, but it’ll be interesting to see if he can pull off yet another rebuild.

And if he does, is this when he stays put and build his own reputation? It’d make for a storybook ending.

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